Comcast is the latest service company looking to expand into healthcare services. The Comcast device will rely on ambient sensors to track the in-home subject’s health conditions and habits. It will log how many times a subject goes to the bathroom or whether they were spending more time in bed. It’s also planned to detect if a subject falls. The service will focus on clients who are elderly or disabled. Amazon also intends to provide similar services through its Alexa products. Google and Apple are also invested in this market.
Intuition Robotics has already been testing an in-home system, ElliQ, for 2 years. They’ve been testing with emotion sensors, emotion mimicking, and NLP. The system will talk to the subject, and will make decisions based on the its awareness of the subject. ElliQ focuses on interaction with the subject–not just talking to or asking questions of the client. In their beta test, users knew it was an AI, but due to ElliQ’s persona, they referred to it as an entity. Clients had an emotional connection to the device.
All of these systems plan to connect to local hospitals and the client’s doctor. There may be remote healthcare functions like video chat and displaying information (test results, charts, x-rays, etc) to the client.
Larger companies looking at the healthcare market have an advantage in access to clients–most likely featuring affordability. Yet a system like ElliQ will offer something more than an in-home monitor: companionship.
Considering the growing elderly populations around the world, shortages in nursing and other healthcare professionals, as well as the cost of retirement communities, the ElliQ and other systems like it, might become a necessity more than a convenience.